blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Ones Who Are Hidden – Kerry Wilkinson

‘Your tattoo… it’s exactly like mine.’ She hesitates. ‘But – I’ve never noticed it before. I must have had it since I was little.’ The ink markings on both of them are delicate, barely visible. Interlinked triangles in the shape of a daisy. But how can two strangers have matching tattoos, they didn’t know they had?

With their parents gone and nobody left to ask, when Georgia and Oliver first come to amateur sleuth Millie Westlake for help with their daisy-shaped markings she thinks the tattoos are a joke. A funny, if unusual, link between two strangers. In the seaside town of Whitecliff, stranger things have happened – especially to Millie herself.

But then Millie finds an artist who remembers giving someone the same tattoo twenty years ago. Someone who spent years hiding in the isolated woods outside Whitecliff – the same place unidentified bodies were once found…

Even as Millie gets closer to answers, she witnesses a shocking robbery that changes everything. And as whispers of what happened in the woods decades ago become louder, how much danger will Millie, Georgia and Oliver put themselves in, to uncover the mystery of the daisy-shaped markings and the dark truth about their pasts?

This gripping and character-driven mystery read is perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Ann Cleeves and LJ Ross.


Audio: UK US

Listen to a sample here

Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.

He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.

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My thoughts: another weird case for Millie and Guy in Whitecliff Bay, a town i am very glad is fictional. This time it’s a strange tattoo on the back of two complete strangers’ ears that leads to a cult that used to exist in the woods outside town. The cult ended in fire and death but a few ex-members exist and someone must have some answers.

Meanwhile Millie’s personal life is still a mess – she wants custody of her son and is willing to exploit her ex-husband’s secrets to get it, and she needs to confront a friend about the email that outed her affair. Her friends Jack and Rishi are on the outs and even Guy’s acting a bit strangely. His late wife’s obnoxious nephew Craig is hanging about and after cash.

Then there’s the shop robbery Millie witnessed, the police think they have their man, but Millie’s not convinced – and neither is the man’s girlfriend. So of course Millie’s going to investigate.

With all of this going on, life’s never quiet, and Millie doesn’t have much appetite despite all the food she seems to be around, I wish people would randomly bring me a bakery’s worth of treats. Though I don’t get Luke’s toast thing still. And we still need answers about Millie’s parents. Roll on the next weird and brilliant Whitecliff Bay mystery.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Italian Rules – Tom Benjamin

Italian Rules is the fourth in Tom Benjamin’s critically-acclaimed Bologna-set series featuring British private detective Daniel Leicester. 

When Hollywood comes to Bologna, La Dolce Vita turns sweet murder…

A famous Hollywood director arrives in Bologna to remake a cult film and the city’s renown cinema archive decides to mark the occasion with a screening of the original, only to discover it has disappeared. After English detective Daniel Leicester follows the trail of Love on a Razorblade to an apparent murder-suicide, he begins to suspect there may be more at stake than missing negatives – could the film contain a clue to one of the city’s most enduring mysteries? Together with a star from the forthcoming remake, Daniel moves from the glamour of Venice Lido to the depths of Bologna’s secret tunnel system as a sinister network closes in and he learns some people are ready to kill for the ultimate director’s cut.

Tom Benjamin grew up in the suburbs of north London and began his working life as a journalist before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He later moved into public health, where he led drugs awareness programme FRANK. He now lives in Bologna. Follow Tom @tombenjaminsays on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

My thoughts: while this is the fourth book in a series, it can be read as a standalone or you can tuck into the whole series.

I love the recent proliferation of crime novels set in Italy, this one in Bologna – at the famous film archives (or at least a version of them) where the negatives of a classic of the giallo genre has gone missing. Do the archives have a thief in their midst or is something much bigger going on?

A remake is due to be shot in conjunction with the director’s family – indeed the new director is married to the great-niece of the original, and is a fan. But the family have secrets, and some of those might be on the missing film.

While hunting down the negatives, and almost getting killed, PI Daniel Leicester finds a couple of bodies and squires a glamorous American actress around town, waiting for the other shoe to drop. His Italian relatives are on hand to help out with the investigation, although his sister-in-law is about to give birth and his daughter Rose is a little starstruck.

The case becomes more complicated and complex as he digs, and about a lot more than just a missing film. Secrets, dodgy dealers of Nazi memorabilia, affairs of the heart and a link to a truly strange real life case are all woven in to this clever and twisting series of crimes. Very enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Body at Carnival Bridge – Michelle Salter

How deadly is the fight for equality?
It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her
factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.
But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.
A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.
As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

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My thoughts: Iris Woodmore has returned from her travels around Europe and is trying to fit back into her old life in Walden. But things have changed, her father’s got a girlfriend, her friends have moved on with their lives, and she doesn’t have a job anymore. After finding the body of a young woman in a canal barge, she’s drawn into another complicated and complex case.

Taking in several concerns of note to the times; from women working, returning injured servicemen, the new freedoms afforded to women, changes in fashion (Iris has bobbed hair and trousers!), it’s a tricky case. There’s a lot more going on around the biscuit factory than just baking!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Contest to Kill For – E.V. Hunter

The competition is fierce….
Desperate to try and rebuild the reputation of Hopgood Hall, owners Alexi Ellis and Cheryl and Drew Hopgood agree to host a realty TV baking show, spearheaded by their arrogant but enigmatic head chef Marcel Gasquet. Hopefully the ratings will bring in bookings to the struggling hotel and Cosmo, Alexi’s antisocial feral cat, is hoping to get a starring role too!
The temperature is high…
Fiery and hot-headed, Marcel’s antics makes for brilliant television, but off-screen trouble is brewing.
One of the contestants, femme fatale Juliette Hammond, makes it clear that she will do anything to secure the winning prize – even if it means sweetening up the prima donna chef.
The results are deadly!
So when Juliette is found dead, all eyes turn to Marcel. Has his fiery French temper got the better of him or has someone else fallen victim to Juliette’s devious ways?
With the reputation of the hotel in tatters and Marcel’s liberty on the line, Alexi needs answers and fast. And the only person she can turn to for help is her old friend and private eye Jack Maddox.
Jack’s working his own case, but he can’t refuse Alexi and he knows more than anyone that this murder could cost them everything!

Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers for Boldwood. For the past twenty years she
has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

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My thoughts: Hopgood Hall is hosting the regional heat of a national cooking contest on TV and resident chef Marcel is hoping they get his good side. Until one of the contestants dies – and it looks like murder. Was Marcel the killer?

Alexi and Jack don’t think so, it’s too convenient that one of Marcel’s chef knives is stuck in Juliette’s chest, besides chefs are precious about their blades, they’d never kill someone with one. And there’s plenty of other suspects – all with a grudge against the not so lovely contestant.

Perhaps something in her past has returned to haunt her or she pushed someone too far? And what’s the connection to Jack’s current PI case at Cash Out? The duo get digging, aided by Alexi’s huge black cat Cosmo, who’s become a bit of a star in his own right.

Having my own attention seeking moggy, I can totally see why he’s such a camera magnet, I imagine he might be almost as handsome as my boy, and he does an excellent job of guarding Alexi’s car, which is impressive for a cat. They’re usually far too lazy to care.

Jack and Alexi’s relationship steps up a notch or two as well, from the spare room to Alexi’s bed! Good thing Cosmo likes Jack. The investigation runs fairly smoothly as they sort through their suspects, asking the right questions, and helping the under-resourced local police out with tying up the loose ends and discounting any red herrings. Juliette was not a nice person but she certainly didn’t deserve to be murdered. Thankfully this pair are on the case!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Medici Murders – David Hewson

Venice is a city full of secrets. For hundreds of years it has been the scene of scandal, intrigue and murderous rivalries. And it remains so today.

1548, Lorenzino de Medici, himself a murderer and a man few will miss, is assassinated by two hired killers.

Today, Marmaduke Godolphin, British TV historian and a man even fewer will miss, is stabbed by a stiletto blade on the exact same spot, his body dropping into the canal.

Can the story of the first murder explain the attack on Godolphin? The Carabinieri certainly think so. They recruit retired archivist Arnold Clover to unpick the mystery and to help solve the case. But the conspiracy against Godolphin runs deeper than anyone imagined.

David Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, Sunday Times and Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels, including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages, and his Amsterdam-based series featuring detective Pieter Vos. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent. @david_hewson |

My thoughts: Convinced he’s found new evidence in a historical murder, ghastly academic turned TV historian Markaduke (Duke) Godolphin descends on Venice with his former students, the Gilded Circle, in tow. And promptly gets himself killed.

Carabinieri Captain Valentina Fabbri summons archivist Arnold Clover to tell her about the events leading up to the man’s death, about the Wolff Bequest, the rumours of Michelangelo’s involvement in the Medici assassinations and the life of Marmaduke Godolphin, who hired him to find the letters that supposedly prove the artist’s role.

It’s a convoluted story, involving a cast of people with good reasons to hate Duke, including his wife and son, a huge pile of rubbish at the State Archives, an American TV network, a cast of actors and the long ago real life drama of the Medici family, who never fare well outside of their city of Florence.

Lorenzino de Medici murdered his cousin, and was then himself assassinated in Venice. Either his uncle, the Pope, or Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was behind it, and according to Duke, artist, sculptor and former Medici favourite, Michelangelo (yes, that Michelangelo) was heavily involved in both deaths. Or was he? The mysterious Wolff, a man no one has heard of, or met, donates his papers to the Archive in Venice after telling Duke that somewhere in there is proof.

Arnold and his friend Luca are hired to sieve through the detritus of this mystery man’s life and find them so Duke can make a triumphant return to fame and fortune.

But who is responsible for Duke’s unfortunate death? Fished from a canal dressed as the doge, stabbed in the heart with a fancy dagger. His wife, son, former acolytes, and an American TV producer were all at his party a few hours before, as were Arnold and Luca. But which one of them did for him? Valentina is convinced Arnold’s story holds the answers.

There is a lot of food and a lot of wandering around Venice (which, having done it, I recommend) while Arnold tells his story of academic rivalry, family feuds, long held grudges and murder. Valentina doesn’t seem hugely interested in the actual crime, as much as the quest for the Michelangelo letters, the mystery of Wolff and the over the top behaviour of Duke in the lead up to his death.

It’s a very dramatic carry on, Duke has spent a lot of money (most of it someone else’s) on this quest, throwing parties and buying costumes, hiring actors to recreate Lorenzino’s death, and trying it on with the young American Patty, sent to get a contract signed on proof of the scandal. Problem is, the Michelangelo letters might not be the genuine article.

Hugely fun and a really interesting take on the whodunnit, pairing a historic series of events, ones covered by real historians, with a rather entertaining and complicated fictional plot, narrated by an archivist who doesn’t really want to be there, punctuated by delicious Venetian cuisine and the stunning landscape of the canal city. More please!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Review: If I Should Die – Anna Smith

Private investigator Billie Carlson is back in the next gripping instalment of this utterly addictive series. Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Marnie Riches.

PI Billie Carlson is in Cleveland, Ohio following a lead on the whereabouts of her son, Lucas. But when the trail goes cold, she is forced to return to Glasgow and a life of waiting and praying that one day she might see him again.

Back in the office and ready to throw herself into work, she picks up a call from Lars, an old friend from her teenage years in Sweden. He tells her some devastating news. His younger sister, Astrid, was found dead in the Highlands, frozen to death with traces of drugs and alcohol in her system.

The police are convinced that Astrid killed herself, but Lars knows his sister would never do such a thing. He begs Billie to investigate and to accompany Astrid’s body back to Sweden. Billie quickly agrees and soon finds herself involved in a web of institutional corruption linked to the dark recesses of the criminal underworld. Can Billie find out what happened to Astrid, or will she be silenced by those desperate to keep her from finding out the truth?

Published 11th May, available from all bookshops.

My thoughts: PI Billie Carlson is asked to go to the Highlands and bring the body of her friend’s younger sister home to Sweden after her shocking death. She digs into what happened to Astrid and finds herself embroiled in an international drug syndicate and a violent world hidden in the scenic Scottish countryside.

At the same time she’s also searching for her missing son – kidnapped and taken to the US by her ex-husband, she’s hired an American PI to search for her, one with connections on that side of the Atlantic, desperate for answers.

While her former colleagues build a case against the men who are responsible for Astrid’s death, Billie flies to New York hoping to be reunited with her toddler son.

There’s a lot going on in Billie’s life and with investigations on both sides of the pond, both personally important to her (but one more so than the other), she’s divided but wants both to come to a positive conclusion – to get justice for Astrid and for Lucas to be back where he belongs.

She’s an interesting character, with a bad habit of charging into danger and almost gets herself killed. Her secretary is called Millie, which made me laugh, and her relationships with her former cop colleagues are complicated, but they come through for her when she needs their help.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for my review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Mystery of the Homeless Man – Gina Cheyne

Why would an airline pilot exchange a world of comfort for life on the streets?
In 2006, Miranda meets an itinerant in the wood, she takes him home. He refuses to stay, desperate to return to the streets. Miranda gives him some money and forgets the incident.
Fifteen years later, the SeeMs Detective Agency is investigating an abandoned house and discovers a homeless man was found there: murdered.
No one knows who the dead man is or how he died, and, with one hundred and fifty unidentified street deaths per year, no one has time to find out.
But, the SeeMs Detectives have both time and a client.
Their investigation takes them into a surprising world of aviation, night-clubs and the homeless.
What they discover threatens one of their team. Can they save their colleague before the homeless man’s killer strikes again?

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Gina Cheyne is a retired helicopter pilot who has lived and worked in many countries.
At present she Lives in Chaos, although she originally came from Erehwon. Her schooling was so bad she had to be re-schooled by animals. She loves to laugh. Plays tennis badly, bridge slightly better,
golf even worse. She is exceptionally good at walking, unless it is muddy, then she is good at reading.

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My thoughts: this was a very convoluted crime novel, with a murderer who muddies the waters and at various points has different names and stories, all to confuse and mislead the detectives on their trail. The murdered homeless man is a victim many times over it seems, although he has a few things in his past that weighed on him.

Tracking down his old acquaintances, colleagues, family and lovers takes the team into the world of airline pilots and a complex web of relationships, accidents, enemies and the history of a house called Wild Garlic.

While they untangle the mess of the dead man’s life, one of their own is put in danger by a suspect. Can they unravel the story and save their friend in time?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: The Nice Guy and the Devil – Tom Trott

Nice, France — Retired CIA agent, Cain, is living a quiet life, trying to stay out of trouble.

But he can’t turn off his old instincts like a lightswitch.

When an unsuspecting American woman becomes the target of criminals, he can’t sit back and do nothing.

What starts as one good deed puts Cain in the sights of highly-trained mercenaries, brings him to the attention of INTERPOL, and puts him on a collision course with evil personified.

With no one he can trust, in a land of double-crosses, Cain must rely on his wits to survive.

My thoughts: Cain is a complicated character, a former agent of some sorts, definitely a killer, but also seemingly a nice man. He wants to help people, either as a sommelier suggesting the perfect wine, or when a wedding gets shot up by terrorists, by hunting down the bad guys and putting a stop to them.

In this case he gets entangled with the Interpol agent who should really be arresting him, and a supposedly dead man. Known as The Devil, he’s an African warlord, terrorist and somewhere in France is his army. And they want someone from that wedding. Cain goes after the kidnap victim, and winds up in a whole heap of trouble.

I was hooked from the get go. A one night stand leads to his wedding invite, which he engineered because of something he’d overheard. He gets himself involved, when he could just go back to his nice quiet life. I think he misses being an international man of mystery. With his trusty and beloved car, he won’t let anyone else drive, he’s chasing after blacked out trucks full of crazy men with guns, relying mostly on his wits. Cracking stuff.

Currently available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. This is the sequel to The Florentine – also available now.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for writing a review. All opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Thirty Days of Darkness – Jenny Lund Madsen, translated by Megan E. Turney

Winner of the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of 2020 Shortlisted for the Glass Key Award

A snobbish Danish literary author is challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days, travelling to a small village in Iceland for inspiration, and then the first body appears…

Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong.

When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjörður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colourful local characters – for inspiration.

But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water … and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah.

Jenny Lund Madsen is one of Denmark’s most acclaimed scriptwriters (including the international hits Rita and Follow the Money) and is known as an advocate for better representation for sexual and ethnic minorities in Danish TV and film. She recently made her debut as a playwright with the critically acclaimed Audition (Aarhus Teater) and her debut literary thriller, Thirty Days of Darkness, first in an addictive new series, won the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of the year and was shortlisted for the coveted Glass Key Award. She lives in Denmark with her young family.

My thoughts: come with me to an Icelandic village in the middle of nowhere, in winter, where writer Hannah is attempting to write a crime novel in 30 days to win a bet. When there’s a murder, which she gets involved in and puts her safety at risk. She doesn’t speak the language, forcing others to have to speak English or Danish, she doesn’t know the people, but she’s pretty sure she can catch the killer. As you do.

I found Hannah a bit grating, she pushes her way into people’s lives and business with little regard for their feelings and clearly thinks very highly of herself. Her career is stalling as not many people seem that keen on her literary fiction – preferring crime writers like her nemesis Jørn. Which is why she boasts she can write a whole crime novel in a month. This tickled me, I do love it when writers poke fun at the industry and their own genre.

Especially when the book is so good, like this one. Jenny Lund Madsen has written a cracking crime thriller, with all the good ingredients – remote location, nosey outsider, secrets that have been buried for years, lots of possible suspects, a conflicted community, a lone policeman, and winter closing in. Iceland’s unique geography and the fact that the sun isn’t in evidence for much of the winter adds to the sinister atmosphere – snow bound crimes are always a bit more macabre than sunny ones. The winter darkness adds to the sense of claustrophobia and paranoia, someone here is a killer. They can’t leave, but neither can anyone else.

Full of suspense, intrigue and horror, this dark and twisted tale of murder and tragedy is absolutely perfect for a dark and stormy night’s reading. Or not, if you don’t want to stay up all night!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Ex-Wife – Sally Rigby & Amanda Ashby

My life was perfect until she came along. Norah.
Younger, prettier and about to marry my own ex-husband, they are a walking cliché.
I hate her. I hate them both.
She’s taken everything from me – my husband, my life, my home – but I refuse to allow her to take Cassie, my beautiful daughter. That’s a step too far.
Now I’ve discovered that Norah plans to have a baby of her own and that causes me no end of problems. She could destroy everything and reveal my deepest, darkest secrets.
That can never be allowed to happen.
No matter what it costs…
A brand new psychological thriller that will keep you guessing till the end! Perfect for fans of Sue Watson, Nina Manning, Shalini Boland

Amanda Ashby and Sally Rigby are a crime writing partnership. Both authors live in New Zealand, have been friends for eighteen years and agree about everything (except musicals). They decided to collaborate on a psychological thriller which they then entered into a competition, run by Boldwood, and which they won!

Amanda: Facebook Instagram
Sally: Facebook Instagram
Joint Instagram

My thoughts: this was another clever, assured thriller from the writing team of Sally Rigby and Amanda Ashby. Family dynamics are at the heart of this book. Those of parents, children, couples and siblings.

It’s a tangled mess and a teenage daughter – with a dodgy boyfriend, doesn’t help. As Alice tries in vain to get over her ex, Mark, with his new fiancée Norah a source of huge envy, and co-parent seventeen year old Cassie. Norah only has her brother for support.

And yes, Alice goes too far in basically stalking Norah. But did she kill her? There’s secrets upon secrets here, some of which could ruin lives. Knotty and with some twists that’ll make your jaw drop, this is a brilliant and absorbing read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.